Friday, August 30, 2013

Swedish choral music -- misc links

Excerpt from

Sweden has a long tradition of professional and amateur choir singing. A large percentage of the Swedes sing in amateur choirs in various styles. The choirs of Sweden are among the best in the world, with the Radio Choir, owned by Sveriges Radio (Swedish public radio) being one of the world's top professional classical choirs. Orphei Drängar (OD) is a world class male choir singing both in Swedish and other languages. The world famous choir leader Eric Ericsson started his career as chief conductor of OD in the 1950s.

NPR blog post: Literally! Reports Anna Haensch:

Lifting voices together in praise can be a transcendent experience, unifying a congregation in a way that is somehow both fervent and soothing. But is there actually a physical basis for those feelings?

To find this out, researchers of the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden studied the heart rates of high school choir members as they joined their voices. Their findings, published this week in Frontiers in Neuroscience, confirm that choir music has calming effects on the heart — especially when sung in unison.

Using pulse monitors attached to the singers' ears, the researchers measured the changes in the choir members' heart rates as they navigated the intricate harmonies of a Swedish hymn. When the choir began to sing, their heart rates slowed down.

"When you sing the phrases, it is a form of guided breathing," says musicologist Bjorn Vickhoff of the Sahlgrenska Academy who led the project. "You exhale on the phrases and breathe in between the phrases. When you exhale, the heart slows down."

Very nice four-minute video, in Swedish with subtitles, over track of choir singing (and a really, really nice decorative floral painting on cabinet in the background).

KAY POLLACK interview: "AS IT IS IN HEAVEN" Australian TV

As It Is in Heaven (2004). Kay Pollak (Director)


Nominated for Best Foreign Film at the 2005 Academy Awards®, As It Is In Heaven is the story of Daniel, a successful international conductor who returns to his childhood village in Sweden. Soon thereafter, the local church choir seeks him out to solicit his advice. He can't refuse, and nothing in the village is the same again. As the amateur choir develops and grows, he is drawn to the people of his old hometown, makes friends and finds love... A beautiful and engaging film, As It Is In Heaven is a wonderful story about life and love that is sure to inspire and delight. Starring Michael Nyqvist, of the upcoming Millennium series of films, from the books by Stieg Larsson.

Engaging and very opinionated blog post "Sweden Blows U.S. Away with its National Music Scene" by web designer, musician and freelance writer Zac Shaw on his blog Mediapocalypse. Quotes Wikipedia entry on Sweden, "... out of a population of 9.5 million, it is estimated that five to six hundred thousand people sing in choirs." Adds:

Wow, so 15% of Sweden’s population sings in a choir. What do 15% of American citizens do?

  • 15% use food stamps
  • 15% are anti-Semitic
  • 15% believe in godless evolution
  • 15% have never been to a concert
Shaw Googles up some more statistics, plus coverage of a $6,000 (45,000 SEK) grant to an electro-pop band, concludes, "Could it be that simple? Could Sweden’s secret be public funding of the arts?"

KÖRSAM Federation of Swedish Choir Associations KÖRSAM is the Federation of Swedish Choir Associations on national level. We are currently nine member organizations and with a total of well over 100 000 singers and 600 choral directors KÖRSAM is an important meeting place for Swedish choral music.KÖRSAM is also the representative of Sweden's choral music life towards public authorities as well as music and non-music institutions of all kinds.

Review in directory of

Allmanna Sangen : Resonanser

Review: The Swedish choral tradition enjoys a very high reputation, with music lovers often claiming to be able to recognize a uniquely Swedish choral sound. Exactly what this sound consists of is difficult to pinpoint, but often mentioned are keywords such as melancholy, the Scandinavian countryside, folk music and traditional ballads. The selection of works on this disc exemplifies all of these, and the performance of them has been entrusted to one of the choirs that have shaped Swedish choral music: Allmaanna Sangen, an Uppsala student choir with a history going back for more than 175 years. The choir's position in Swedish cultural life was demonstrated in 2005 by an invitation to sing at the Nobel Banquet. That performance was televised throughout the world, and in fact included three of the works on this disc - Biegga Luothe, Glaspolskan and Byss-Kalles slangpolska. Great traditions notwithstanding, this disc offers a new perspective on its subject, as the choir brings out new resonances in the often well-known music. A collaboration with Swedish jazz pianist Anders Widmark lends unusual colours to settings of ancient folk chorales (I Himmelen) and traditional harvest songs (Slattervisa), as well as to classics from the treasure of Swedish choral music such as Stenhammar's Three Choral Songs and Alfven's Evening. Both Allmanna Sangen and Anders Widmark have made a number of successful recordings, and now that they join forces for the first time, it is an occasion not to be missed.

* * *

Allmänna Sången

[Google trans.:] General Song was founded in 1830 as a men's choir , but was converted into a mixed choir in 1963. The choir is Scandinavia's oldest university fragile . It's Uppsala-based and consists of about 50 singers. In addition to regular concerts do in Uppsala, traveling choir in and outside Sweden on tour, recording CDs and participates in radio and television. Conductor is Maria Goundorina . Since the 2005 's Crown Princess Victoria choir patroness.

No comments: